House debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Statements by Members

Housing Affordability

1:56 pm

Photo of Darren ChesterDarren Chester (Gippsland, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to raise my concerns in relation to the growing crisis in access to affordable housing in my community both at Gippsland and in the Latrobe Valley. I recognise that this is not necessarily a new issue, but it has certainly become more acute in recent months, particularly in Gippsland due to the hundreds of houses we lost during the bushfires. We've seen increased property prices, which has been good for current owners. We've seen private owners cashing in on those increased prices and putting a squeeze on rental stock. We've had building material shortages related to COVID. All of these factors have contributed to what has become a very acute problem, and I think we will have some longer term issues in our communities. It's a perfect storm but we don't want to be sitting here in this place looking to blame other levels of government. I think we need to work together to try to find some answers.

It is becoming harder and harder in our regional communities to attract and retain workers because they can't find family homes or even units for single people to live in. For those of us who believe in regionalisation, as we do on this side of the House, we need to keep working with our state colleagues and our local government colleagues on positive and practical measures to increase the housing stock in our regional communities. I'm calling on all levels of government to work together with the industry to find community based and community led solutions to these challenges—whether it be capitalising on the low interest rates at the moment to establish housing cooperatives to find more affordable housing in those regional communities, or whatever measures are required. We need to release more land. We need to build more homes. We need to increase the supply of affordable housing. This critical concern in regional communities needs to be addressed. (Time expired)